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Why the love for the Short Scale axe?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by blowabs, Mar 17, 2009.

  1. blowabs


    Apr 7, 2007
    Brooklyn, NY
    What am i missing? Guys love their SS basses and i would like to know why?
    I am thinking of getting one for travel and getting over CTS surgery .....but guys seem to just love the SS axe....I want in..... :-]>:hyper:

    thanks, allan
  2. theaterbass29


    Nov 14, 2003
    Nashville, Tennesse
    Endorsing Artist: Aguilar Amplification, Sadowsky, D.Markley, Spector
    There are some good ones. I think its important to know what kind of music you intend to play with a short scale. The Dano Longhorn is one of my favorites, along with the Hofner Beatle. Some of the old Gibson/Epiphone Hollowbodys are great, too. I am finding these days that the 32 inch scale basses are a great compromise between the feel of the short scale and the tension of the 34 inch. I own 2 Danos, one with Flats and one with Rounds, and my favorite short scale bass...my Hamer B12S short scale 12ver. I dont recommend a short scale for slap, but they are great for roots, rock, country, Motown, Blues, and R+B. Hope this helps.
  3. unbridled


    May 26, 2005
    Endorsing Artist-Compton Compensated Custom Bridges (for Gretsch 6ers)
    I got my Ibanez Micro mostly because of weight and easier playing position after my neck surgery. I love it and it will continue to be in rotation even after I get healed up. There's just something about the ease of playing it and being able to move with it that makes you really appreciate the SS, especially if you have spent time as a guitarist.
  4. Jimmy Bones

    Jimmy Bones

    Feb 24, 2009
    Baxley, GA
    I liked shortscale a lot too, but finding ss flatwounds is impossible here in Hawaii.

    I would say to generally stay away from the Epiphone shortscales like the SG models (EB-0 and EB-3), because they are so bloody topheavy that the scale comfort is completely negated by swingdown and neck pain.
  5. I have small hands so it is kind of a must in my case. My mustang is light and has a really good tone.
  6. KrisH


    Nov 6, 2007
    New Jersey
    With my smaller hands, a short scale makes it easier for me to reach that "one finger, one fret" ideal without too much stretch and strain. For what that's worth. Although I used a short scale exclusively for many years, I'm also quite happy now with the playability of my jazz. Be adaptable. :bassist:
  7. oldrookie


    May 15, 2007
    Avon, IN
    It's tough to find them in the middle of the continental U.S., can't imagine the fun you have trying to find them!

    I had to order D'Addario SS Chromes, but they were worth the hassle.
  8. Cliff Bordwell

    Cliff Bordwell Commercial User

    Jan 6, 2004
    USA , Orlando , Florida
    Owner of CB BASSES
    Very fun and easy to play.
    32" has a wonderful tone when made correctly.
  9. CDRhom

    CDRhom William Murderface's Bass Tech Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 27, 2009
    Fort Worth, TX
    Like a lot of people who have responded so far I have small hands (I can't span a whole piano octive), but what really decided me was that the ss made it easy to move from playing acoustic guitar to my first foray into playing bass since the fret spacing is nearly the same.

    I started with a 30" Epi EB-0 and as I got the hang of playing Bass, I've moved to a 34" and discovered that the extra few inches of neck make a diference when getting up and down it in an arpeggio, essentially I can play the ss faster.
  10. TRob1293


    Feb 1, 2008
    Louisville, KY
    OK - I am having a terrible time finding anything 32", much less affordable.
    I heard that Fender had some MIJ Aerodynes at 32" at one point - I would love to find one of those.

    Any 32" modernish (non-funky looking) basses out there?
  11. Low Main

    Low Main Supporting Member

    Nov 27, 2004
    There's less tension on the shorter scale strings, so that helps with the playability.

    The farther away from the bridge the pickups are, the deeper the sound. If the bass isn't well made, it might not sound good. But with a well made bass, it's a fun deep sound and feel with the softer strings.

    And if you play hard, you can really drive your tone and get into that roaring Allen Woody territory. Small bass, big sound. Nothing else quite like it.
  12. blowabs


    Apr 7, 2007
    Brooklyn, NY
    Coming off of carpal tunnel surgery and having numbness that is going away the idea of less pressure on my middle finger tip is wonderful! I plan on jumpin' on an SX 30" fretless (which also puts less pressure on my fingertips)....to get my SS feet wet. I like the idea that the frets are closer and they have a fatter bottom sound.

    Thanks for all the responses...another excuse, for another bass :)>
  13. HenfieldJ


    Feb 10, 2007
    I play short scale (30") basses exclusively due to small hands. I find that they are also mcuh easier to carry around, most of them fit in guitar size cases. However, I have also found that the cheaper ones are harder to intonate. You can get a big sound and the lower string tension allows for more vibrato in your playing. The closer the pickup is to the neck will get you more bass, like the old Gibson EB-0 or the Hofner "Beatle" bass. The Fender short scale basses do not sound as bassy as the pickup is in the center, like a P bass.
  14. Rocker949


    Apr 20, 2005

    Although I have never played one, I'm pretty sure the Epi EB-3 is a 34 inch, not a shortscale like the Epi EB-O. The Gibson EB-O (which along with the Gibson EB-3 is a shortscale) is not top heavy and there is no problem with neck dive at all. I did play an Epi EB-O once and there was a problem with neck dive. I haven't played an Epi EB-3 but I assume it also has a neck dive problem since the headstock is similar to or the same as an Epi EB-O. It is possible it has less of a neckdive problem since it has a 34 inch neck.
  15. blowabs


    Apr 7, 2007
    Brooklyn, NY
    so the SS bass will be easier my recovering fingertips, correct? Due to less string tension tuner to bridge?

  16. unbridled


    May 26, 2005
    Endorsing Artist-Compton Compensated Custom Bridges (for Gretsch 6ers)
    Yes, another benefit is that buying new gear always makes you feel better!:)
  17. Why Short Scale?

    Like everyone's said- they're easier to play.

    They also have a tone that you just don't get with a regular scale instrument. On the other hand, you're not getting the same tone that you would with a regular scale instrument. You've got to accept what you're getting, and want that sound.
  18. blowabs


    Apr 7, 2007
    Brooklyn, NY
    I see...Golden Boy...i think.....but quickly how is it different...i'm lookin at a J FL...
  19. Short scale bass is a lot easier to play, especially if I am singing a lot, which I do in my band.

    I play a Waterstone Indra bass with LaBella Beatle Flats and have a Hofner Icon bass with the same strings, and love them both.
  20. IMO- a SS instrument is going to have the same fundamental pitch (your E is going to be an E, same as a regular scale instrument) but there's more... complexity to the longer scale instrument tone. Part of the "fix" for that is makers will have the bass be hollow and/or have pickups mounted closer to the neck- it fills out the sound, but it doesn't carry the same "richness."

    That's not to say you can't have a massive sounding short scale bass sound- like Jack Bruce, Felix Papalardi, or Andy Fraser- it's just that that sound isn't an everyday sound for most bass players. (yes, I realize I chose 3 very similar bass players with very similar tones).

    My first bass is/was a 1971 Gibson EB-0. I hated the sound of it. I routed it for P pickups thinking I could make that bass sound like a "real" bass. For 20 years I messed around with it and tinkered with it, different pickups, bridges, moved the mudbucker... It just sounded like poop. Pretty much the only reason I kept the bass is for sentimental reasons and it was fun and easy to play on. A few years ago I started playing in a band that called for *THAT* sound. I couldn't get it with my Jazz or my G&L, and I couldn't even do it on my T-Bird. But the SS EB-0 with that big stupid mudbucker totally does it. Heck, now I actually hear a use for that sound, I'm really sad that I got rid of that beautiful EB-2 that I used to have.

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